Taiwan’s commitment to climate action in a new, post-Paris Agreement era
The 25th Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP25) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will take place in Santiago, Chile, this December. Participating countries will use the event to discuss their ambitions for realizing the Paris Agreement, and ways to improve their commitment to climate action by enhancing their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
Living in an island state that has already felt the impacts of climate change, the people of Taiwan care deeply about the environment, and understand that our living world is a common resource shared with all other peoples across the globe. Building on the Paris Agreement, and looking to the post-2050 era, Taiwan has actively encouraged all domestic stakeholders to take climate action, reducing carbon emissions and strengthening our commitment to supporting developing countries by any means we can.
Ambitious policy demonstrates Taiwan’s determination
In June 2015, Taiwan passed the Greenhouse Gas Reduction and Management Act, which set out a series of five-year regulatory carbon reduction targets designed to lower Taiwan’s greenhouse gas emissions to 50 percent of 2005 levels by 2050. Subsequently, we have also taken numerous adaptation actions related to such issues as water management, public health, agriculture, and land use. In response to the international trend of energy transformation, Taiwan has also introduced a Green Finance Action Plan that is facilitating innovation in the field of green technology. As part of this, we have also set a goal of having 20 percent of our energy mix coming from renewable sources by 2025, including 20 GW of solar power and 6.9 GW of wind power.
Taiwan can help: Ready to contribute to global climate action
Despite being excluded from international climate talks and lacking opportunities to pledge our commitment to supporting global climate action, Taiwan has still undertaken a wide array of projects helping developing countries mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change.
Through many years of bilateral cooperation with these countries, Taiwan has already demonstrated its willingness to contribute to climate action. This year, responding to the most urgent needs of the most vulnerable countries, we are enhancing cooperation in four areas:
1. Good environmental governance: Thanks to our rapid economic development and industrialization, and familiarity with associated environmental management issues, Taiwan’s decision-making experience can be extremely valuable to other island states and developing nations facing similar challenges associated with climate change.
2. Early warning systems: Taiwan has already implemented numerous cooperation projects designed to build the capacity of Central American partners in the application of geographic information systems and global positioning systems. These have helped such countries as Belize and Honduras strengthen nationwide environmental monitoring and disaster prevention systems through the reporting of land use changes, the emergency monitoring of earthquakes and landslides, and the provision of associated training courses.
3. Energy efficiency: Taiwan has established a range of multilateral cooperation projects promoting green technology and energy efficiency, including the Home Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Project in the Marshall Islands. This substantial climate change mitigation project is helping the Marshall Islands reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by 992 tons annually.
4. Green finance and technological innovation: As a competitive nation when it comes to green technology, Taiwan exports a significant volume of advanced renewable energy products to other countries. Taiwan has also contributed US$80 million to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s Green Energy Special Fund, which is used to co-finance EBRD investment projects that incorporate green energy components, such as LED street lights, smart meters, solar-powered technologies, and public transportation and electric systems.
Conclusion: Taiwan worthy of inclusion
Faced with the impact of extreme weather events and natural disasters, Taiwan has had to learn to adapt—a process that has imparted a great deal of expertise. We have also shown a great willingness to share our technologies, financial resources, and expertise with the world. To date, however, Taiwan has been denied the opportunity to submit its ambitious NDC to the UNFCCC Secretariat for purely political reasons. This means that the system will always be missing a piece whenever global emissions and climate action are tallied up.
It is neither appropriate nor effective to restrain Taiwan’s participation in the UNFCCC by extending invitations via the very limited quota of NGO participants permitted to attend COP sessions. Taiwan should be afforded the opportunity to participate in global mechanisms, negotiations, and activities that promote the implementation of the Paris Agreement in just the same way as any other country. We call on all parties to look beyond political considerations and support Taiwan’s professional, pragmatic, and constructive participation in the UNFCCC. Taiwan can help—work with Taiwan to promote global efforts to combat climate change!